Place and Nature: Essays in Russian Environmental History
This book offers new perspectives on the environmental history of the lands that have come under Russian and Soviet rule by paying attention to ‘place’ and ‘nature’ in the intersection between humans and the environments that surround them
is chapter examines the diering opinions between industrial and scientic institutions over the use of the waters of Lake Baikal in the context of Soviet development policies in Siberia, beginning in the 1950s. It argues that institutions and people experienced Baikal as a place of contradiction, clearly illustrating that Soviet industry posed the risk of harm to the natural environment. In dierent professional layers of Soviet society, Baikal became an arena of conict over water (and nature more broadly) and the lake’s own, natural ability to purify chemical waste discharged into the waters. Employing new archival sources, such as institutional and individual correspondence and reports, this chapter discusses the role of Baikal in the interplay between industry and environment at the institutional level and contributes to the scholarship on Soviet postwar environmental history.
The formation of the travel and tourism industry in the Russian Empire was a prolonged process. Along with the development of a vast transportation network, the spread of rail services and the introduction of new railway tariffs in 1894, the number of travellers in the Russian Empire increased by the beginning of the twentieth century. All those people required reliable information, instructions and advice on how to organise and complete their journeys, which they increasingly found in tourist guidebooks. Guidebook authors and publishers helped them master the fears arising from the uncertainties of travel. Being a highly contested rhetorical resource, authors, compilers and publishers of guidebooks debated, negotiated and constantly changed the Trans-Siberian ‘landscapes of transportation’. By analysing travel guides on Siberia as complex artefacts and focusing on the transportation landscapes as a historical phenomenon, we hope to shed more light on the complex intersections of mobility, transport technologies and environment in the Russian Empire at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. We argue that in the process of (re)making railway landscapes—which we consider as a material stage on which actions took place—perception of these landscapes was shaped by the natural environment in the process of its transformation, by transportation technologies and infrastructure, by services and conveniences, comfort and safety.